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the books of what they called the old testament and there they found something very unusual. they found a god who spoke to his people in their language. god in the bible only speaks one language, he speaks hebrew. and he made them an interesting promise. he promised to rescue them from compile and to restore them to their promised land. the puritans read this book and they loved it. they loved the story. they became the new israel. england maim the new egypt. the atlantic ocean became the new sinai. and they landed in a new promised land. if you live in the northeast of this country, that's why there are about a thousand cities and toupds that have biblical hebrew names. that's why you have your sharons and jerichos and bethlehems, if you're from long island, you have bethany and bethpage, they're both in jerusalem. and they gave hebrew names to their children. sarah and rebecca and david and solomon and made hebrew a
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required language at all of their universities. you had to take hebrew. james madison was a hebrew major at princeton and he failed. he had to go back and spend an extra year at princeton, because it's a hard language, trust me. where's the hebrew teacher? i'm sorry, i shouldn't say that. easy language. just don't tell james madison that. and so deeply engrained was this notion of the new israel in america, that at the conclusion of the american revolution in 1783, there was a debate between the u.s. leadership over what was going to be the great seal of the united states. and a certain group of american leaders thought that it should be the bald eagle but another group said no, the image of the united states, the seal should show moses leading the children of israel out of bondage and into the promised land. there was this heated debate. america came this close to having moses as its national
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symbol. you got the folically challenged bird instead. but the authors of the moses seal were none other than thomas jefferson and benjamin franklin. so they had internalized the biblical narrative. now, for many of this generation of founding mothers and founding fathers, the fact that they were the new israel meant that they had a kinship relationship with the old israel, the jewish people. it meant since they were -- they had inherited a new promised land. they had a connection with the old promised land. and they concluded that to be good christians, to be good americans, it was their divinely ordained duty to help the old israel go back and restore their ancient kingdom to help god fulfill his promises to them in the bible, rescue them from exile, restore them to their promised land. thus was born the notion of restorationism, which was by no means a peripheral notion in post-colonial america. you had john adams, the second
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president of the united states, saying it was his greatest dream that 100,000 jewish soldiers would march back into judea, as he called it, and recreate the jewish day. you had abraham lincoln in 1863 pledging to help the jews go back and regain their sovereignty after the civil war. you had woodrow wilson, who was the grandson and son of presbyterian ministers saying it was his greatest privilege to be able to help the jewish people return to their holy land. woodrow wilson was absolutely instrumental in helping to persuade the british to issue what they called the balancefour declaration. they threw their weight between what was now palestinian and it became the basis of the u.n. participation resolution creating an arab and jewish
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state, which the jews accepted and then whether the united states should recognize the recreated jewish state. in an event which is completely unique in the annals of foreign policy, i know of no other case like this, the state department, the defense department, the pentagon, without exception told the president of the united states don't do it. if america recognizes this jewish state, there's going to be a cutoff of oil from the middle east to the united states. american soldiers are going to get embroiled in a war there because the jews don't know how to defend themselves. don't do it. the secretary of state at the time, george marshall, who was the most revered american of his generation, said that if the president recognized the jewish state, he, george marshall, wouldn't vote for him in the 1948 presidential elections. but the president was a gentleman named harry truman, who claimed to have memorized the bible by age 14 and had himself joined a restorationist group called the american christian committee for palestine.
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he locked himself in the white house for 48 hours and on -- at 6:11 p.m. on may 14th, 1948, that's 11 minutes after israel declared its independence, harry truman made the united states the first nation on earth to recognize the recreated jewish state. and when asked later why he did this, why he went against the advice of all of his foreign policy counselors, truman basically had a two-word response. he said "i'm cyrus." i always know who knows their bible because they're nodding. cyrus was the ancient persian king who rescued the jews from exile and restored them to their sovereignty after the destruction of the first temple. so he was cyrus. and america remains, believe it or not, america remains the most religiously observant country in the world. more americans attend one house of worship of one stripe or
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another, whether it be a church, a mosque, a synagogue, weekly than any other country in the industrialized world. people reading their bible, read the same thing john adams read and abraham lincoln read and made the same conclusion and it's one of the reasons why support for israel in this country is close to an all-time high. it's between 71% and 79% of americans define themselves as pro-israel. only one time it was higher, during the 19 91 gulf war when israel was being pummeled by scud rockets. thank god we're not being pummeled by skut rockets anymore. but in support for israel is very, very high and one of the reasons is the great spiritual connection between the two countries. but israel comes into being 64 years ago not only as a jewish state. it comes into being as a democratic state, as the middle east's only functioning democracy. believe it or not, at 64 years old, today israel is older than more than half the democracies
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in the world. it's part of a very, very small club. america is a member, canada is a member, new zealand is a member, britain is a member. you know what club this is? this is a club of those countries, those democracies that have never known a second of nondemocratic rule. very unusual. think about it. in spite of the just unspeakable pressures that israel has known since its creation that have crushed most democracies repeatedly throughout the world, israel has never known a nanosecond of nondemocratic rule. we are a state that has a representative government. it's different than your representative government. it's a lot louder than your representative government. the chairs in our parliament tend to be screwed down because people tend to throw them. very rambunctious. if someone curses out the president in the american congress, it makes the front page news. someone screams at the prime minister in israel, it doesn't make the news.
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very rambunctious democracy that's got a free press on steroids. it's a rule of law. it's a country in which nobody is above the law and no one is beyond the independent judiciary. recently a former president of the state of israel was sentenced to a lengthy prison term for sexual offenses. he was sentenced to jail by a supreme court panel made up of three judges, two women and an arab supreme court judge in the state of israel. it is a country which is a -- not just a regional leader, but a world leader in terms of the rights that it affords to, for example, the lgbt communities in israel. where we never had don't ask, don't tell. the year that america enacted don't ask, don't tell, the israeli army passed legislation that said that no soldier could be discriminated against because of his or her sexual orientation. it is a country where strangely
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enough, it's the only place -- only instance where rabbis, imams and priests get together an agree on something, in trying to block the annual gay pride parade in israel and they haven't succeeded in many years now. every year we have that parade. this coming saturday night i'm giving -- this saturday night i'm giving the opening speech at the annual lgbt convention and it's a great honor for me to speak about israel in that context. israel is the only country in the middle east that has a memorial for john fitzgerald kennedy. it is the only country in the middle east that has a memorial for martin luther king. and we mark martin luther king day. it is the only country in the middle east that has a very large memorial for 9/11 just outside of jerusalem. it's the only country in the middle east that has a park named for and containing an exact replica of the liberty bell. liberty bell park in jerusalem.
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you go to new york -- you come to our hometown in jerusalem you have washington street and you have lincoln street. though israelis cannot say lincoln so they call it lincoln street. so you had the great spiritual connection. you had the democratic affinity. what there was not was a military or strategic alliance. anybody who says israel and the united states have been alied militarily since 1948 doesn't know their history very well. israel has always stood four square with the united states in the cold war. still does. a couple of weeks ago there was a vote in the general assembly about the boycott of cuba, the embargo. irrespective of what you feel about that, but the vote in the general assembly was 188-2, so you can imagine who the two were. our voting records in international forums are virtually indistinguishable over the course of six decades.
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but israel fought wars. 1948, '56, with without a single bullet. israel defeated three soviet-backed armies. on the seventh day of that conflict, as it were, american policy makers woke up and said, whoa, there's this little superpower in the middle east. we should be allied with that superpower and thus began the u.s. alliance which has blossomed ever since then. to get a sense of it, you have to talk about what america gives israel. america gives israel roughly $3 billion in military aid every year. it's military aid, not civilian aid. 75% of that aid is spent in the united states. they tell us what to buy with that aid and it creates tens of thousands of jobs in this country. but for that aid, and that aid is roughly -- that aid today, about $3 billion will buy you about one-half of a new class
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destroyer. for that aid, america gets -- america gets intelligence. it gets intelligence at the highest and most professional level about occurrences in the middle east. and we share our intelligence daily with the united states. and i know personally from being an ambassador that it is deeply appreciated on both sides. you get an army. the israel defense forces, which is highly motivated, highly trained, very sophisticated. which is larger than the british and the french armies combined. and it just happens to be sit waited at the strategic nexus between africa, asia and the middle eastern area. it's an area where america does not have to deploy a lot of troops there paubecause our tro are there as opposed to the persian gulf where there is a large american military presence. it gets technology. we share our innovation with the
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united states. every american military aircraft, whether it be fixed wing or helicopters, every single one of them fly with israeli components and with israeli concepts. i can't go too deeply into that, but trust me, they have all got israel inside of them. israel and the united states together have developed the most advanced anti-ballistic systems in the world. and they are multi level. they can take out short range, middle range, intercontinental missiles, joint programs. one of those systems, the iron dome, just this year became the first anti-ballistic system in history to prove effective in combat. sometimes you try them out, they're fine. have you ever tried to use them in war, it's a different situation. we've used them several times this year to take down dozens of rockets fired by hamas and islamic jihad in gaza. it works. one just scored a 100% hit rate. this is literally rocket
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science. it's getting two rockets going the speed of bullets to hit one another in middle air. and it can anticipate where that next rocket is going to fall. if it falls in an open field, we leave it alone. only if it hits a city do we shoot an interceptor at it. we're sharing that technology with the united states. we have developed drone aircraft. we're world leader in drone aircraft, patrolling the skies above american service men and women. we are involved in the war against drugs using drone aircraft. we have developed anti-missile technology that protects tanks from rpgs. we help with the technology of detecting and neutralizing, improvised explosive devices, which have been really ruinous for american troops serving in iraq and afghanistan. but israel providing ports of call for the six fleet and hifa, american military aircraft land
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in israel. that's what that navy propeller jet was doing when they picked me up to take me to the truman. they were landing there. the sailor who say come and visit have a wonderful time. it's the friendliest port in the mediterranean for them. israel is not just involved in advancing america's military prowess on the battlefield. we're also engaged in saving american limbs and saving american lives. some of you may remember that at the outset of the iraq and afghani conflicts there was a lot of things said that they went to the battlefield with insufficient armor. there's a kibutz founded by americans that came up with an ingenious idea of making a do-it-yourself instant armoring kit. as of today, this little kibutz has armored about 20,000 american military vehicles serving in war areas and we have
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saved countless lives through these armoring kits. we at the embassy, we get the thank you letters from the parents, from the husbands, from the wives, thank you for saving our kids with these vehicles that took a direct hit but nothing happened to the people in them because of these kits. there's a little start-up company in jerusalem which has developed a high-tech bandage that has an internal pressure system that applies pressure to a fresh wound and stops bleeding. fortunately, one of these bandages was in the medical kit of a s.w.a.t. team in tucson, arizona, on that terrible day when congresswoman gabrielle giffords was shot. they immediately applied this bandage to her head wound and it stopped the bleeding and saved her life. we have provided one million of these bandages to u.s. fighting forces so far. so we're saving lives. we are saving limbs. we are engaged together in humanitarian missions around the world. israel was the first on the ground with a fully manned and
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equipped medical team in earthquake-stricken haiti, and we got there because our team was flown in by the u.s. military. our team actually slept in the u.s. embassy overnight for a couple of days until they could set up their own tents. we've done the same with earthquakes in turkey and indonesia. these are muslim countries. we have been involved in famine relief in somalia, in moratania. not exactly friendly countries to us but we have been engaged with the united states in fighting famines. we are engaged with the united states in agricultural development projects in south america. women's empowerment and education programs in africa. this all comes under the rube rick of the alliance of the united states and israel. so as you see, multi-faceted, very deep. and i more or less knew a lot about this because i spent 30 years studying it before i got this job.
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i got the job and found out i knew very little. actually this relationship was more deeply root eand multi-faceted than anything i remembered or knew because there was a new area of the u.s./israel relationship and that was the commercial relationship between the united states and israel. today israel is america's 20th largest customer in the world. america does more business with israel than it does with spain, argentina, russia, saudi arabia. it's extraordinary. it's getting bigger and bigger every day. the last decade, americans have invested about $80 billion in israel development. israelis have invested more than $55 billion in the united states at a time when american firms are outsourcing to asia, israeli firms are outsourcing to the united states. many thousands of americans are employed in israeli companies here, including many in this area, in the greater maryland area. you know, you should never have to take pills, but if you do, one of every five pills you take
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in this country is made by teva, which is an israeli company that employs tens of thousands of americans. particularly in the field of high tech. that's our largest source of income is high tech today. every major american high-tech firm, aol, google, intel, soon to be apple, motorola, they all have their r & d centers in israel. intel has two r & d centers in israel. so if you have intel in your computer, you have israel in your computer. we made the microprocessors. if you are using a usb flash drive, that is an israeli invention. if you are typing something into your browser and your browser intuits what you are looking for, that is an israeli invention. they have a 70% share of u market on all your lcd screens, whether on your cell phone or your computer. we are there in your lives, in your high-tech part of your existence as students. you're typing up are papers,
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you're using israeli components as well and we're very much involved in the search for alternative energy. some of you may have heard of the better place project which aspires to make israel the first completely self-sufficient electric car system. we hope through the better place system, which is going on record now, on road right now, to help president obama reach his goal of putting a million electric cars on american roads by 2015. now, does all this mean we fwage on everything? guess what, we don't. allies can disagree. some of you studying history, remember the u.s. and britain in world war ii, how often they disagreed? we disagree on of certain things. we have disagreed on tactical aspects of the peace process. israel's settlement policy, the jerusalem policy, you probably have questions about it. i won't go into it now. but most of those tactical differences have been minimized. today we both call for the immediate resumption of direct negotiations between israel and
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the palestinians. there's no sort of end running the process by going to the u.n. we agree there's no room for terrorists at the negotiating table. most importantly, we agree on the end game, we agree on the strategy. the strategy is the creation of two states for two peoples. the nationwide of the jewish people and palestinian people. living side by side in mutual security and mutual recognition and peace. those are our common goals. on the iranian issue, a very complex and current issue, again, we are communicating daily at the highest and most intimate levels about iran. we both agree that we are determined to prevent iran from acquiring military nuclear capabilities. we agree that the best way to do this is through a combination of sanctions, and a credible military threat. we agree that containment is not an option. that there has to be a military
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option, a viable military option, a credible military option. we greatly appreciate president obama's recent remarks where he said in front of 12,000 people, he said that israel has a right to defend itself against any middle eastern threat. any regime that is threatening to wipe us off the map, and that only israel as a sovereign nation knows best how to defend its citizens. all of that. we are living through some particularly historic times in the middle east. i don't have to tell you, you're involved in the elliott school and studying international affairs. you see what's going on in the middle east. it is a highly fluid and flammable situation. everything is in flux. anybody who tells you they know what's going to happen in the middle east the next two months, two weeks, two hours, is kidding themselves and kidding you. i could walk out of this room now and get a little note and things have changed. it's happened. there is one certainty, however. just one. and that certainty is that there will be a state, there will be a
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state that will remain economically and militarily robust. it will remain unalterably democratic. not going to change in that way. it will be capable of defending itself by itself. it is a country that will be sharing its innovation, its technology with the united states and it is a country that will remain today, tomorrow, in the future as it unequivocally pro american. you will not find an anti-american demonstration, you will not find american flags being burned in public there. how many countries are there, not just in the middle east, how many countries in the world are there like this? and for that reason, historically because of the deep roots, because of the democratic connection, because of our great military alliance and now our growing commercial relationship, i say that israel is not just an
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ally of america, it's not even a great ally of america, israel is america's ultimate ally. thank you. [ applause ] questions? i'd be happy to take some. >> the ambassador has graciously agreed to respond to questions. you've been given some cards and i would ask you if you would write your question on the card for a very straightforward and simple reason. if you write it on a piece of paper, that's likely to be what you'll say when you get up because i'm asking you to be really concise and quick and ask a question. i promise -- i know the ambassador said he will answer any question and i know he will. i tell you, i will interrupt if
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either you speak too long in a lecture or if you don't ask a question, all right? so without further ado, mr. ambassador. >> questions, please. you had your hand up, very quickly, so please. >> hi. thank you for speaking to us with your perspective -- >> i'm sorry. >> do you have a microphone? >> we're also having it taped. if you could just walk over to the microphone. >> it will probably save time if you line up at the microphone if you have questions, okay. see how well versed i am. >> okay. thank you for speaking to us and giving us a perspective of the u.s. and israel relationship. you spoke a lot about israel's response in humanitarian situations, you spoke to israel's support of stabilization. one question i had, you normally speak about the current of israel and the past relationship. one question i had is what is
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israel just fiction between jewish settlements that are in the best h west bank and palestinian territories. i'd like to point out that a lot of the jewish settlements, although they are outside the major cities -- and when we're talking about have and have notes in general society, a lot of the israelis that are settling up in these settlements are the have notes. they have not the haves. they are not the ones that are able to provide for themselves. so i would like to understand the reasoning. >> fair now. the settlement policy. first of all, we refer to them as the disputed territories and i'll explain to you why we say disputed territories. the area you call the west bank, which in hebrew is called judean somaria, is the cradle of jewish civilization. they are our tribal lands. if you look in the bible, you won't find haifa. you'll find tel aviv but it's a
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town in back loania. you find jericho and hebron and bethlehem and jerusalem many hundreds of times. so this is the cradle of our civilization. and it is virtually impossible for any israeli government, left, right, up, down, to tell jewish people that they can't live in their ancestral homeland. so it goes to the very creation of a jewish state to have a jewish state in your homeland. secondly there was a strategic interest behind the settlements. israel before 1967 at its most populist areas only eight miles wide. that's narrower than suburban washington, d.c. we didn't have a defensible border, that's why resolution 242 passed by the u.n. talked about secure and recognized borders because our border was insecure. that's the problem we have with the whole 67 border notion. so we had these two very important components. one was spiritual and
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historical. the other was strategic and military. and yet you now have had a head of the party, benjamin netanyahu -- why are we doing this? we're doing this because we know these same lands are the homelands of another people and that those people are a people who are endowed with a right of self determination. the only way we're ever going to end this conflict is by sharing
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it. and we have seen that settlements have not been the obstacle for peace. we were able to negotiate a peace treat rewith the egyptians and the palestinians f a long time with the settlements. under two peace offers made to the palestinians in 2000, 2008, the settlement issue was not what drove the palestinians to reject them. it wasn't because of the settlements. in 2005, we ripped up 21 settlements and threw 9100 people out of their homes in gaza. as a reserve officer who served there, there was nothing more traumatic for me than doing this. we did it in the hope of advancing the peace process. we didn't advance the peace process. we got rockets, thousands of rockets fired at our homes from gaza. settlements are not the issue. we can create a palestinian state that will be contiguous, territorially viable and our hope is nobody will ever have to leave their homes. we don't think that anybody should ever have to go through what

May 4, 2012 12:00pm-12:30pm EDT

TOPIC FREQUENCY Israel 53, America 19, United States 16, U.s. 7, Jerusalem 7, Us 5, U.n. 3, Truman 2, John Adams 2, Woodrow Wilson 2, George Marshall 2, Princeton 2, Asia 2, Britain 2, Africa 2, New Israel 2, Obama 2, Cyrus 2, Harry Truman 2, Bible 1
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